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Have you ever had someone ask you to ship them some cannabis? Perhaps a little something to help Aunty Dot’s arthritis? We know the feeling of going to the Post Office – anxious as hell – to ship an ‘innocent’ brownie to your old mate in Wyoming (where cannabis isn’t legal yet). We wish to tell you it was cool, but it’s not.

The simple answer to the title question would be an unfortunate ‘no’. Even though cannabis has been legalized in most U.S states, ironically to some, marijuana is still very much illegal at the federal level.

And, since the United States Postal Service is a federal entity, cannabis is forbidden via U.S mailing routes.

With that said, there’s more to the rule than meets the general eye. In this article attempts to answer the question of ‘can you mail weed legally in the United States’, we take a closer look at the current legal state of mailing cannabis.

Can You Mail Weed In The United States?

Regardless of the state regulations where the cannabis is being mailed from or to, it is prohibited under federal law to mail cannabis in the United States.

This is due to the fact that cannabis is categorized by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical use in treatment in the US at this time.

What is Permitted and Not Permitted?

Anything over 0.3% Delta-9 THC content, made from cannabis with a greater THC content than hemp is illegal.

Originate from hemp, a kind of cannabis with a low THC content.

It is also illegal to mail anything that does not have its own certificate of analysis from a laboratory.

US Farm Bill

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill, eliminated hemp from the CSA's classification of cannabis.

As a result, hemp is no longer subject to the same regulations as marijuana and is instead regarded as an agricultural commodity. The Farm Bill did not, however, make it lawful to mail cannabis products.

USPS Guidelines Allows Hemp in Mail, but…

In 2019, new guidelines from the US Postal Service revealed the federal agency will ship and deliver some cannabis products, from then on. But wait a minute, these will be specifically hemp products.

Of course, Hemp is a form of cannabis that contains minimal amounts of THC, so it won’t get anyone buzzed and is hence okay to mail. And if you want to ship hemp and CBD products through the USPS, you must have a license from the respective state’s Department of Agriculture. What else do the new guidelines incur? Here’s a roundup;

  • The mailer of the hemp or CBD products must obey by all applicable federal, state, and local laws – such as the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 and the Agricultural Act of 2014  – pertaining to the production, processing, distribution, and sales of hemp.
  • The guidelines state the USPS will now handle cannabis products made from hemp that contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
  • The mailer must retain records establishing compliance with such laws, including laboratory test results, licenses, or compliance reports, for no less than 2 years after the date of mailing.
can you mail weed legally in the US? Cannabis in a box to be mailed

Risks of Shipping Weed by Mail

The risks of mailing marijuana remain significant.

  • You can be charged two ways: Either under federal law, or the law of the state in which the cannabis originated; or the state to which it was sent.
  • Charges will be compounded for interstate trafficking, based on the quantity of the marijuana.
  • As the recipient, your participation in the shipment is enough to involve you.
  • Probably the least of your concern, is that if your product is found, it’s likely to be confiscated. Every year, the DEA publishes particular data on the amount of seized cannabis, and in 2023, the record was broken for Colorado.

What About Third-Party Carriers?

Unlike the USPS, third-party carriers such as UPS, FedEx and DHL are not federal agencies. As such, they do not have to obtain a warrant to search a suspicious package, and thus it certainly doesn’t make it safer than USPS.

Seeing that private carriers have the right to open and inspect any package at their own discretion, the chances of your parcel getting busted is pretty good. Furthermore, large private carriers have affirmed their willingness to cooperate with federal law enforcement in this regard.

Penalties of Mailing Weed

Marijuana mail-order penalties can be harsh and include:

For the first crime, a maximum of five years in prison.A second violation carries a maximum 20-year jail sentence. For a third crime, a maximum of 40 years in jail.

People who mail cannabis may face up to $250,000 in civil fines in addition to criminal punishment

Final Thoughts on Can You Mail Weed Legally?

Despite the challenges with shipping marijuana and hemp, this USPS provides some much needed insight where there has historically been no information on this topic.

Although it will take some time before you can legally mail weed in the United States, these new guidelines definitely pave the way in the right direction.

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If cannabis is legalized nationwide in the future, it will eliminate all of these issues concerning the shipping of cannabinoid-based products. It’s something to look forward to – but until then – we recommend visiting a legal state as often as you can and stock up at a local dispensary as much as you like – without the risks as explained in this article!

Stay On Top of Cannabis Laws

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Fred Hernandez - Cannabis industry expert writer
Fred Hernandez

Fred Hernandez is a highly accomplished and versatile writer, boasting an extensive background in the cannabis industry. With an in-depth understanding of various sectors including cultivators, processors, retailers, and brands, Fred's expertise spans across the entire cannabis landscape. As a prominent contributor to CTU, he consistently delivers insightful articles exploring the latest developments, news, and regulations shaping the cannabis industry. Whether it's delving into the intricacies of cannabis products, cannabis strain reviews, or providing comprehensive analyses of cannabis laws, or sharing expert insights on cannabis cultivation techniques, Fred's wealth of knowledge positions him as an invaluable writer and educator for all cannabis-related subjects.

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